SWOON! All of the swoony feelings! This felt like a modern retelling of You’ve Got Mail. Perhaps it was supposed to be but since I adored that movie, I could not wait to get my hands on this story. I was not disappointed. I loved every page of this delightful story.
Seventeen year old Bailey is a classic movie buff and regularly chats online with a boy she knows as Alex. They both have a deep love and appreciation for classic film. Bailey’s home life situation in New Jersey changes and she is forced to move in with her dad who lives in California. Her online crush, Alex, lives in California (in the same city as her dad, no less!) but she is too scared to tell him she is moving. She fears their online chemistry will not translate into real life chemistry. After moving, she starts working at a movie museum and catches the eyes of the very outgoing Porter Roth, who is a quiz-loving, weather-obsessed, surfer who works as security guard and also nerds out about movies. It starts as a casual friendship but it quickly becomes more. Bailey soon feels wrong for liking Porter so much while she still has feelings for Alex. She realizes it is time to come clean and tell Alex the truth. Little does Bailey know that Porter is Alex…
I shipped this book so hard I may have hurt myself. You name the swoony feelings and I had them. This book is the reason I love YA Contemporary. I only wish there were more like it. The reader is told from the beginning that Porter is online Alex, so there is no mystery there, yet to see how they interact every day it left me screaming, “HOW can you not tell that is Alex?!” Then again, it probably would not have been such an amazing read if Bailey had figured things out at the beginning, right? That being said, the characters were so dynamic throughout the entire read. I felt they were so well developed and they grew as the story went on. The author did not leave them clueless or not allow to mature as new clues appeared and events took place. I will admit, Porter was my favorite character. For lack of a better word, he was perfectly written in his role. I swooned for him hard. Reading Porter and Bailey talk about shared experiences brought a huge smile to my face. I really enjoyed how Bennett made this story feel real. I believed the thoughts and emotions these characters had and felt I was on the journey with them. Everything about this story felt believable.
Let us not forget the supporting characters in this story. Every one of them played a part and this story would not be what it is without them. Grace is front and center in my mind when I say that. I liked her “take no crap” attitude. The poor girl has been through her fair share of bad things but knows good people when she meets them. I liked how Bailey’s dad was very present in her life, even though their family went through some serious trauma years before. He wants to be involved in his daughter’s life and will do whatever he can to make that happen. He also felt like a real person. Even when he admitted to dating someone new. Good for you! It proved that even though parents get divorced, they are still real people.
I did not want this story to end. It was such a fun read that I wanted their story to continue. Bennett had a way of weaving a contemp story that pulled me in and I never wanted to leave. I don’t jump on the OTP bandwagon often (or at all) but I must admit, Porter and Bailey are on my OTP list. Probably at the top of that list. I wanted to stay in sunny California and bask in the sweetness that was their story. I don’t re-read a lot of stories but I know this is one I would happily pick up again. I couldn’t stop myself from giving this swoony read 5 stars because I believe this is what a contemporary story is supposed to be.